City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style

Eyes all aglow: check out tree lightings, holiday markets and decorations galore this weekend. Photo: Gidon Wessner

In the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas, whether you’re ready or not. This weekend seems to be the unofficial kickoff for the holiday shopping season, with no shortage of options for a festive stroll. Take your pick — or chug some AE eggnog (in stores now) and visit all five.

Jingle in the Junction (5-8 p.m. Thursday): More than 100,000 lights will cast a glow over Historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines, including horse-drawn trolley rides, carolers, ice carving, a “living” snow globe and a tree-lighting ceremony at 6 p.m.

Holiday Promenade (5-8 p.m. Friday): The annual celebration is back for the first of five weekly events. The tree at Brenton Skating Plaza lights up at 6 p.m., followed by live entertainment, open houses and holiday shopping deals throughout the East Village.

Tree Lighting and Fireworks (6-7 p.m. Friday): According to his magical marketing team, good old Santa plans to “throw a fireball” across the little lake at Jordan Creek Town Center to light the towering Blue Spruce. Musicians from the Lutheran Church of Hope will open the program, followed by the fiery finale.

Jolly Holiday Lights (6-8 p.m. Friday): The popular fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Iowa moves this year to the Outlets of Des Moines. Everybody can see the lights for free — you can’t miss ’em — but you can support the cause by buying tickets that include access to special events, like the opening ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, plus coupons for participating shops and businesses. The lights shine through Jan. 7.

Winter Farmers Market (11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m-6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday): The popular downtown farmers market moves indoors at Hy-Vee Hall with end-of-the-season produce, homemade goodies, holiday gifts, local art and Christmas decorations from more than 150 vendors.

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